There exists a “strong opportunity” for dairy manufacturers to boost milk’s health credentials in India, according to new Mintel research.
While seven in ten (71%) Indians have used milk at least on one occasion in the last three months, according to Mintel, only three in five (59%) Indian consumers associate milk with being healthy and just 37% perceive milk to be a high source of calcium.
Moreover, the study reveals that as many as three in five (61%) Indians are trying to eat more protein, but just 39% perceive milk to be a high source of protein.
Though Indian consumers may not fully recognise milk’s health benefits, it seems they are open to supporting healthier lifestyles with milk. Indeed, according to Mintel, over a quarter (26%) of regular milk drinkers in India are looking for milk with added nutrition (such as added calcium, protein, vitamins), while 22% are seeking milk offerings that provide specific health benefits.
Natasha Kumar, India food and drink analyst at Mintel, said: “Milk has been traditionally associated with health benefits; however, this may no longer be the case in India today. Amidst reports on adulteration (such as the inclusion of ingredients with the likes of detergent and paint) consumers no longer see the value regular milk can provide them. There are many worrying lifestyle diseases cropping up in India, and consumers are vowing to adopt healthier lifestyles and actively seeking added benefits in all that they eat or drink.
“Manufacturers of milk products can tap into this situation by communicating milk’s health credentials, such as its high calcium and protein content. There is opportunity for dairy manufacturers to fortify milk in order to increase its association with ‘health’, particularly through providing benefits that target specific health concerns, enabling consumers to see value in the product.”
In light of consumer demand, there is a call for dairy brands to focus on ethical and environmental claims. According to Mintel, there has been a steady decline in ethical and environmental claims in the milk and flavoured milk categories in India. In 2018, less than half (45%) of milk and flavoured milk launches in India carried ethical-environmental claims, down from 52% in 2016.
Highlighting the demand for eco-friendly milk, three in ten (29%) Indian consumers say that they actively look for ethical claims or seals on packaged food or drink product labels. However, Mintel said that only 15% of milk drinkers in India have expressed their concerns around the welfare of dairy animals.
Kumar added: “Dairy brands that effectively communicate their environmental and animal welfare credentials can potentially reap the benefits from people’s changing priorities. Consumers today are not only conscious of what they put inside their bodies but also what they put back into the environment.
“Therefore, when brands follow the same ideologies, are transparent about their practices and carry ethical claims, these informed consumers get up and take notice. This, in turn, gains their trust in the long run.”
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019